Poor Mr Brown. All he did was follow Daddy's instructions!
Poor Mr Brown. Our big brother has been caned like the older brothers before him. And all he did was to follow instructions from Daddy.
These were Daddy's instructions and comments that we got in the past :
"feel free to express diverse views, pursue unconventional ideas or simply be different."
"You can get anything you want in this family. You can travel, you can bring it in. You can - you can organize what you want. You can say anything you want, and all sorts of things are said and debated in this family" - Aug 2005
"We encourage the children to express their views and to have a view. Our problem in this family is that many children don't really have a view." - 30 June 2003
"We don't mind if you have different views, but you must have some views. If you have no views, I have a problem. If you have different views, we can talk about it and let's do something about it together."
"Whether the children fully agree with Daddy's point of view is less critical than whether the children are following the issues at all." - July 2001
This is how Singapore has developed over the years. It's a bit like the old traditional families.
Daddy always makes the decisions. He works to feed the family, to earn the money for the household. He decides what home to buy/rent, he decides what the colours of the walls are, he decides what Mom should cook for meals.
Initially the young children don't feel any wrong with this. Because they are helpless, know nothing of the world and trust Daddy wholeheartedly.
But as the years go by......the children become teenagers, and then young adults. They are educated. They have studied history, science, and read about social family structures and systems around the world.
Soon the older children start to make noise. They don't like the colour of their room walls. They want it blue and not white. They want to eat different types of food and not the constant rice and soup Dad always wants.
Dad realises he has a problem at home. He talks to the older children. They make it known they want to have a say in the home, in the family. So Dad says, ok I will listen to your feedback. Let us sit down and discuss things.
So they have regular meetings at the dinner table. The older children trash ideas. They give suggestions. Dad doesn't say very much. He just nods and write notes and at the end says he will consider all the suggestions seriously.
And at each subsequent meeting, Dad explains to the children why the walls have to remain white and not blue. Why it is more healthy to eat rice and soup rather than hamburgers. He justifies all his previous decisions. He also tells them that they are young and the world is good for them such that they can afford to be concerned about the walls being white and not blue when in the past, Daddy had to fight to get food on the table. It was his efforts that have brought the family to where it is today. Hence he knows best and all the children know nothing!
Increasingly, the older children realise that it is a waste of time talking to Dad. He is merely listening to the suggestions but doesn't intend to act on them at all. All it gives him is more information so that he can justify and rebut the requests of the older children. Everything is to be EXACTLY THE WAY HE WANTS IT TO BE.
After a while, the older children get disgruntled and decide that if they really want to have things how they like it, they have to leave the family. Set up their own. Or join some other family where the Daddy is not like their Dad and is more open to suggestions for improvements.
The dinner table meetings continue. The younger children attend because Daddy says they must continue to have it. But it is a silent affair. Daddy just keeps saying "How anybody got any feedback today? We are here to listen to feedback. That is what you all want right? A channel for feedback"
And all the younger children just keep quiet. And Daddy asks "How come you all so quiet? I don't mind if you have different views, but you must have some views. If you have no views, I have a problem. If you have different views, we can talk about it and let's do something about it together"
And the younger children think in their mind "Yeah Daddy talk talk only. I remember how last time when big brother and big sister got different views, how he beat them up with the cane. Better don't have different views lah"
And Daddy adds finally to the silent family " Aiyah, if you all not happy, I always tell you all that Mom can go find another Daddy for you all what! But I also warn you that all of the other men out there are simply not up to mark!"